I recently read an article that must have circulated quite well. MSNBC posted the story, The Mystery of the Double Eagle Gold Coins. Ultimately, the article reports on the United States Government’s efforts to recover a few of the almost 450,000 Double Eagle gold coins minted in 1933 but never publicly circulated.
Some of the most fascinating aspects of this event:
- • President Theodore Roosevelt’s commissioned Augustus Saint-Gaudens to design the twenty-dollar art-piece in 1904.
- • The US Mint produced the coins from 1907 through 1933, (unissued gold-coins intended for international trade).
- • Saint-Gaudens dies in 1907 after finishing the design of the Eagles, but before his work is finalized for production.
- • In 1933, Executive Order 6102-ironically issued by a cousin-become US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, globally bans Americans from trading and owning gold, with extremely limited exceptions.
- • The Gold Reserve Act of 1934 facilitates the transfer of all gold possession from the Federal Reserve to the United States Department of the Treasury.
- • Unbeknownst to the US Department of the Treasury, not all of Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles were destroyed and melted into bullion! Some escaped and it is still unclear how many have never been recovered.
- • The only known privately-owned 1933 Double Eagle masterpiece sold for $7,590,020 USD in 2002 to a private collector.
Now, the curious unfolding of events in the recovery, exchanges, sales, discovery of more coins, trials, and judgments, paints an interesting canvas. Seen in summary, these gold coins were minted ultimately to return to bullion!The unfortunate losers of this whole charade seem to be Joan Langbord and family, but what have they lost when they were completely ignorant of their possession to begin with?…or so they say. Should they be entitled to some sort of compensation for having come forth with the coins? Did the US government do right in not returning the coins and in ultimately accusing the dead Israel Switt of criminal activity when not conclusively proven guilty? He did have a two-week window of opportunity to have legally obtained the coins…